Monday, February 11, 2013

More Than Ordinary

I have found myself lately feeling quite discouraged and even sad at times. This is my 13th year teaching 1st grade but I find myself constantly still making new activities and feeling behind. I get to school early and leave late and still never feel caught up....because I have entered the point where my ship is sinking!!!

Each meeting I attend seems to tell me of 1 MORE thing I need to be planning for OR I am reminded about all of the things I am "supposed" to be doing and am currently not doing very well. I know everyone higher up than me on the food chain is being told by someone else what they should be doing AND what all I should be doing but I ask myself Who IS getting it all done??!!??!!??

I hop over to visit other blogs and I end up feeling like I am not doing a good job....y'all must be Wonder Woman and I want to know your secrets. =)

I find myself stressing and worrying too much.

So, I have to stop and look at all of the ways God is blessing me.

I need to stop and try and leave this worrying and stress outside of the classroom.

The worrying and stress will not make me a better teacher. In fact, it is during those times when I tend to have less patience. I forget to be proactive instead of reactive to my kiddos and their problems and misbehavior. I also tend to rely on the things and people of this Earth for my comfort and peace...and that always seems to leave me a little discouraged.

I need to remember to put my trust in God and see each blessing He bestows upon me in my classroom.

It seems to be those hugs, smiles, and words of "I love you" that remind me of what God needs me to focus on.


Teachers have such a tough job. Unless you are in the trenches with us, no one really knows what it is like to walk into the classroom each day. It is scary that we are given such responsibility to care for and nurture 16+ kiddos each day....plus teach them reading, math, science, and social studies!!!

Think about this...


All of the planning in the world is not what makes you a good teacher. There will always be new standards and curriculum. There will always be someone telling us we need to do more. People will not listen or fully understand what you face when you walk into YOUR classroom each day. BUT, I am the only one who can be in charge of my attitude and heart.

God put YOU in YOUR classroom. Remember...


One last thought...


A teacher who teaches from the heart IS more than ordinary.

From My Heart to Yours,

63 heart notes:

Joyce Versaw said...

You have just expressed exactly what I have been feeling. It's tough! I finally decided that I want to foster 3 things in my classroom: critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. If I can do that, all else will fall into place, whether it's through blended learning or any other edict handed down from above. Hang in there, Heather! You've encouraged me greatly!

Jessica Lawler said...

What a wonderfully encouraging and challenging post - I love the quotes. Definitely going to hang those above my desk as a constant reminder of God's faithfulness.

Thanks for sharing.

~Jessica
Joy in the Journey

Wendy Arentz said...

Heather, you are a blessing to your students and to all of us in the blogging world. Thank you for the reminder to keep focused on what is truly important. Thank you for your words of inspiration! Hang in there!

Wendy
Read with Me ABC

Sarah said...

I almost cried when I read this. You've expressed exactly what I've been feeling. I moved over 500 miles away from family and friends with my fiance to teach in NC and I hate it. My admin is not very supportive and see all the negative instead of positive. They are always adding more things we need to be doing and my heart sometimes doesn't feel it anymore, and I've only been teaching 2 years! I am just trying to survive the rest of the year. I sure hope it can get better. I will remember your post and keep believing in that higher power. Thanks

sarah
teachingiscolorful.blogspot.com

Mrs Cupcake said...

Heather, you are such a kind and sweet person! I know that you are an amazing teacher, too!
❤Teri
A Cupcake for the Teacher

Michele said...

So often I have felt exactly like you...overworked and overwhelmed. No matter how hard I work or how hard I try, I can't get caught up. However, I will not let these trials keep me from doing what I was put on Earth to do--teach. With Him behind me, I can face anything in front of me. As teachers, we have to--the future of our children and our world is depending on it.
Michele
The Lightbulb Lab

Mrs. Griffith said...

Thank you so much for sharing your encouraging words. Being a teacher has got to be one of THE most challenging jobs...especially when new things are being thrown at you from every direction. I feel like I am in the same boat you are. I like to live by these words: "Let go and let God!"

Lindsay
For the Love of First Grade

Dr. Jill E. Steeley said...

Heather, what a good reminder this post is. It's so easy to choke on the dust of the trenches we're digging day to day. We must consciously choose to climb out daily and go to the Source of Living Water.

Jill
a-little-red-wagon.blogspot.com

Sherry said...

We'll find out on Wednesday of next week if the school I currently teach in is going to close. I only moved here in September. The sad truth is that it will happen and people are starting to get a bit stressed over it...where will I go...which administration will I have....will the grade configurations be the same. It's the small things that are the most irritating. For a week, the printer that the teachers use most has not been working and today the admin. said he was too busy to look at it. Our lives are so tied up with technology that when it's down....so are we. I've been teaching for 32 years and I think that I work harder now than when I started. This job just doesn't allow us to 'coast'...we're always going full speed. Truth is, we do it , not for the higher ups, but for the 'lower downs', our kids. They are the little bright lights of God smiling at us, reminding us that nothing worth having, ever comes easy! Chin up!
sherry-matheson.blogspot.com

Nancy VandenBerge said...

Heather,
Please know that we are all in this together. We get overloaded with no end or rest in sight. But also know that time is the essence of God. If we see God in everything, time is consecrated. When you live in the present, you magnify your soul. When you magnify your soul, your time is magnified. You will be filled with time. What gets valued or magnified gets done.
I hope my ranting makes sense. Sometimes we just need to take time to understand time. Your time is precious, and so are you. You are blessed to be a blessing to so many. I have been blessed by you!
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to ease your time.HUGS!!
Nancy
firstgradewow.blogspot.com

Amanda Bryant said...

Your words have touched me tonight. You have beautifully expressed what so many of us are feeling. Thank you for this post. I am a second grade teacher with a 1 year old and a 4 year old and my husband has been deployed since this summer and I won't get to see him again until July. I feel so overwhelmed all the time and when I see all of these amazing blogs I also feel the same. It is so nice to know we are all overwhelmed with the same experiences and emotions. God bless you!

Amanda Bryant
A Traveled Teacher

R Lindle said...

You are amazing! I have been following your blog and you have helped me out when I have felt this way.

I love the quote you posted " God gives his hardest battles to his toughest soldiers" I definitely need to remember that one!

Rachel
http://mslindleskindergarten.blogspot.com/

Kristin said...

Love this.
We're doing the new edition of A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren at church and in our small group right now. I am really working on remembering that I work for the Lord. And everything I do can bring glory to Him and please Him. So I am trying really hard to remember that each school day . . . some days I do better than others. :)
Keep your chin up - you are NOT ordinary!!

Mrs. Parker said...

Heather,

I hope that you know that you are not alone. Each one of us has had "dark" moments in our teaching career. But we continue because it is our calling. You are a gifted, talented teacher. Do not loose sight of that. You have impacted each child that you've taught but also the many teachers who have gotten to "know you" through your blog. You are amazing! You are not ordinary. Rather, you are extraordinary.

Jessica Fredrickson said...

Thank you Heather, this is just the message I needed today. :) And I think you're a wonderful teacher, inside the classroom and out! You have made such a positive difference in the blogging world and we all love you.

~Jessica
Fun in PreK-1

Mrs. Greene said...

Heather,

You have a knack of putting into words what many of us are feeling. After 20 years of teaching, many view me as someone "who has it all figured out." Ha! This year has probably been the MOST overwhelming to me. Our district is in it's second year of implementing Common Core. We have a new teacher evaluation system and a new electronic grading system. Oh, and let's throw in PD360 which the district is monitoring our hours online. It is CRAZY! I don't think many people realize that being a teacher is not just a 8 hour job. You literally have to have your "teacher hat" on 24 hours a day. Our stress level is through the roof! However, we continue to push ourselves to be better. Why? FOR OUR STUDENTS! Everything we do, every hour we spend, every class we do online, every blog we read is to HELP US BE BETTER FOR OUR STUDENTS. We can't help it! Because as your blog's name says...it's in our HEART. Just remember, you are LOVED! You are loved by all those little eyes that look up to you everyday. Believe me, if they were doing our teacher evaluations...we all would be DISTINGUISHED in their eyes.

Stay strong and teach on!
Ann

MrsKinne said...

Thank you for this. I am feeling the same way, and I needed this encouragement tonight.

Lauren Augustine said...

Thank you SO much for this post. I was about to post tonight and "vent" about being overwhelmed, discouraged and frustrated but then I read this. Thank you for the gentle reminder that I am doing what I do for a reason!! Have a great week!!

Lauren
Miss Augustine's Kindergarten

Nicole said...

Heather,
Thanks for expressing your feelings tonight! I think we are all in the same boat "feeling" wise! We all just keep getting more and more put on us.

Just know that what you do in the classroom has helped me in numerous ways. I have said this before, but I over the last 2 years I have really reconnected with God, and well somehow you found my blog last year and it was just what I needed. I truly think God put you in my life to remind me to teach from the "heart". You are awesome!

Nicole
A Frenzy of Fun in 1st Grade

Jenni Taylor said...

I am a new follower ... but everything you said tonight could have been written by me - thanks for the quotes and the reminders. Sometimes it's nice to know that we are not alone in this walk. I'm trying to focus on the positive in everything and for the future of each child we touch.

Jenni

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Jill said...

Heather, each time I read your posts you inspire me. I thank you for the reminders about what is important. You not only touch the lives of children but you also touch the lives of teachers everywhere.
Jill

Arisbeth Rossi said...

Thank you for your encouraging and inspiring post! We all feel the same way and only God can give us the serenity to persevere and overcome it all!

-Aris

Amy Seiber said...

Heather,
Wow...your words can evoke emotion. I have felt that way so many times! It's so important to remember why we are there. God put us there for a reason! You probably don't realize that people look up to you...wonder woman! :-)
Amy
mrsseiber.blogspot.com

zputty said...

You sound as if you are emptying your bucket more than filling it. Remember to take time for things that restore you - not just rest, but things outside of your classroom that make you feel happy and creative. From everything you put here in your blog, you are too valuable of a teacher to lose! Restore yourself!

Valerie

Miss Marcy said...

Beautifully expressed Heather! Teaching from the heart with patience and warmth is what our students need the most in our world and I can tell you most definitely do that. I also want to tell you that you have inspired me so many times when I have needed it. Your blog is one of my favorites! Thank you for being you. You are an inspiration to many!

Becky said...

What a great reminder to start off my morning! The quotes are so encouraging and your message rings so true. I am only a second year teacher, but I already realize how stressful this job is. It does always seem like there is one more thing to do and not enough time to do it. I do tend to compare myself to others and get discouraged. My stress does make me more reactive to my kids.

It is so important to remember that I am called to teach and that I should be honoring God and relying on God each day.

Thank you again for the amazing encouragement. I will be praying for God to help you to overcome the stress and worry.

Becky
Compassionate Teacher

FunintheFours said...

Thank you Heather - it's easy to get overwhelmed. Remembering that God is in control makes life so much easier. Funny, I always think of you as Wonder Woman :) when I get your posts. They're always so inspirational.
Lynn

Kelly Teaching Fourth said...

These are just the words of encouragement that I needed this morning. Thank you!

Kelly
Teaching Fourth

KinderKapers said...

Heather...this is such a heartfelt post! You expressed exactly what I have been feeling, especially concerning fellow teachers in this wonderful blogging community. I don't mind going in early and staying late. I love finding and creating new things...but I also feel I will never be as good as, or as organized as, or as amazingly unique as many of my blogging heroes (and yes that does include you). I confess to totally throwing out my posts about 100th day, because I just don't think I measure up. It is heartwarming and encouraging to know that others feel the same.

Your post encourages me to remember that I am a child of God too. I am touching someone...I hope. And to keep moving forward.

Terri
KinderKapers

Amy said...

I am not a teacher, but I am a mom, and I can definitely relate to the feelings you expressed in this post! I can look around on any given day and see at least a dozen other moms who are doing it better than I am.

But I think just the fact that you are constantly planning and preparing and changing and striving to improve after 13 YEARS must mean that you are an awesome teacher!

AlyseC said...

i NEEDED this soooo bad today! I wish I would have read it last night because I was in tears thinking that I just can't get done what I want to. Thank you!

Alyse
Keep Calm and Apple On

vicky1970 said...

Heather,
Don't be discouraged! You are such a light to our blogging community and the Lord uses you everyday! I'm encouraged by you often! Thanks for sharing your heart. We all feel this way at one time or another. Hang in there...you are a blessing - let that be an encouragement to you my friend.
Vicky
Traditions Laughter and Happily Ever After

Robin Harris said...

This post was exactly what I needed to remember!
Thanks!
Robin
www.thebombdiggityclassroom.blogspot.com

Robin Harris said...

This post was exactly what I needed to remember!
Thanks!
Robin
www.thebombdiggityclassroom.blogspot.com

Justyna Pohl said...

Heather, first of all not only am I thrilled that you are my first blog follower, but I feel blessed by visiting your blog. This post echos so much of what being a teacher is and requires of us. Sometimes we have to Just Be. Thank you for this reminder.

~Justyna

http://themonogrammedteacher.blogspot.com/

ErIca said...

Newsflash: only the most awesome teachers feel like this! I have a colleague who leaves every day 10 mins after the bell. Nothing against teachers who do this but a paycheck is just not why I became a teacher. I don't work bell to bell.. I work until I feel I am done. I can tell you do, too, and let me tell you, it shows in our students.

Pamela Kranz said...

Great post, Heather. I agree with Erica, only good teachers feel like this. Worry is pointless. As long as your focus is on your kids and what's best for them, you'll all be fine. I can tell you, every single year of my teaching career was the same- I never felt like I was finished, but the calendar said I was.

~DeAnne~ said...

You are not alone. I am 14 years into it and feel like I'm drowning this year. Each year gets harder and harder. I just need to stop and take a breather once in a while, and realize that there is a plan in place for everything. He will guide me in the right direction. :)

įƒ¦DeAnne
First Grade and Fabulous

Sheila Gonzales said...

It is so great to see these words of worry and relief and all the great posts too. I too feel like each year gets harder. The expectation seems to increase (I even feel the amount of personal time (unpaid) expectation is increasing. I get frustrated with the expectation placed on my personal time. I love doing teacher things on my time but I want to be in control of it and I know I feel like I am drowning often! Thank you for putting your heart out there and encouraging us all!

Cara McFall said...

Heather, when I read your post it brought tears to my eyes.

AHOY to you! From here, it looks like your ship is overflowing with love and care for your little crew. Don't let the stress bring you down.

I'm inspired by your ideas and blog! Keep your head up, you're making a difference. :)

- Cara
PS: Thanks for following me over at The Classroom of Progress

kinder-gardener said...

I read your post days ago and could relate. I agree that if you visit all the blogs you feel lacking somehow. I have been at this for almost 30 years and every year around February I get this sort of panicked feeling, not sure I am going to get my little buddies where they need to be by June. But, somehow it happens! Spring starts to show itself and I am ready to go. All you can ask of yourself is to do your absolute best, which I can tell you already do. Love those kids up every day and they will flourish. Remember, for some of them, you are the very best part of their day. They are coping with so much.
Besides, I know you are an angel because you are my one and only comment on my blog. You already have earned many kisses in heaven!

msdora162 said...

I think many of us feel that way. Sometimes when we gather we tend to vent and rather than help us feel better it just seems to be a cumulative depression. I have found that I have to control what I am trying to modify or improve upon. complete that task then move on. That way I always have something completed. Just remember that the way you worry about doing enough, makes you that much better for your students. A very smart former principal would tell us that most of the time we were the best part of the day for our students and so we should concentrate on that. Remember that God has gifted you with the love and ability to teach. He will continue to guide you. Take care of yourself.

Jean Robinson said...

Heather I am always inspired by what you post. Keep going! You do AMAZING work.
Jean
Diving Into 2nd Grade

Denise M said...

Every time I hop over to you blog, you inspire me and give me the motivation to not give up on my dreams of being a teacher. Your rawness and truth is greatly appreciated. As a future teacher, I find myself sometimes feeling as if I am greatly behind the curve when I read teacher's blogs, but I know I will be successful if I work hard and stay true to myself.

Denise
http://dreamsofaeducator.blogspot.com/

Mrs. Mariano said...

Heather, we've all been there! You are smart enough to realize when you need to take a step back and breathe. It is very easy to "think" other teachers have it so much more together. It's hard to do, but do not compare yourself to others (as you already know). I look to your blog for words of inspirations (as well as great ideas). As you can see, from my sparse blog posts, my current grad class has me stretched pretty thin (even though it's a great course). Hang in there!
-Jen
http://www.thatfirstgradeblog.blogspot.com

Robin V. said...

Heather, You are so inspiring to me. Even as a home school mom I get overwhelmed, down and out. Trying to squeeze in all the subjects and meeting all the state standards is not an easy task. Thank you for the reminders that God called us to teach these young minds. Its so important to remember this! Keep up the great work, Heather. You are making a great difference in their lives!

jessie vassar said...

Wow! How inspirational and uplifting you are. I have a feeling that you are exactly what your students need. Yes, at times we all do get discouraged, but like you said, we should constantly look to God for guidance and He will lead the way.

Keep up the work, if you felt me you had everything done and in tact, that's when you should worry.

The Cornerstone Classroom

Amy Swan said...

Heather, this is the exact reason that I started blogging a couple of weeks ago. Come follow me and you'll see that you're SO not alone in feeling overwhelmed. I just wrote a post about how our sweet little kindergarten Valentine celebration turned into the zombie apocalypse!! Talk about an epic FAIL...lol :)

Amy
Happy Teacher Heaven

Kelly Cote said...

Heather,

I have been teaching for 14 years, and have friends with over 25 years of experience. We ALL feel this way most of the time. I was inspired by your ability to put things into perspective. It is very difficult to balance the profession we love with family life. I am not sure why it is this way, but if we stick together, and allow ourselves to lean on one another, we will find a way to make it work. It is important to express our feelings, especially when they are a bit negative. That is how we know we are human. Thanks for your blog.

Beach Lovin' Teach said...

I'm so glad you posted this! This is exactly how I've been feeling! So overwhelmed and reading blogs sometimes just makes it worse! I don't know how some people find the time to juggle it all! Thanks so much for sharing!

Holly said...

Oh my, how do you do it, Heather?!? How do you always hit the nail on the head at just the right time? You really just took the thoughts from my mind and the feelings in my heart and put them in this post. Know that you are not alone. We all put our best foot foward and put on a game face...but so often, like you, I feel like I'm taking three steps backward and only a step or two forward..which, if you do the math, never gets me caught up or feeling on top of things. It is what it is, and I suppose it's time to Let Go and Let God...right?

Big hugs to ya, chicklet...love you to the moon and back!

Holly
Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

Juf said...

Hi Heather,
I just wnat you to know that I really appreciate all the things you put on your blog. Love the inspiration in this post as well.
One thing I've found helpful to me recently, is to really assess the amount of time something is going to cost me compared to what the results of it are going to be. The materials I make now aren't as cute as some of the original things I made. I observe what kids enjoy and learn best from, and use that knowledge when I create new activities - the kids don't even really notice the difference in cuteness factor.
Also, have you heard of Debbie Diller's books? She has some great ideas for coming up for simple, worthwhile work station materials.
I also have a class mother who does some simple tasks like (cutting) laminating for me, which is very helpful too. If you can't find a mother who's interested, maybe someone at a nursing home or so would like to feel useful by helping in that way?
One more thing I've started to do more and more is let the kids help out more, both with simple classroom tasks, and when it comes to new units. I used to spend a lot of time prepping, looking around for materials, etc. But kids get so enthousiastic about new topics, that nowadays my first graders bring in all kinds of stuff for our theme, and come up with all kinds of ways to use it at school once they know what some of the requirements are.
Just some thoughts that you may or may not be able to use. Hang in there - you're doing a great job!

Brittany Wheaton said...

These are gorgeous and so, so, so true! I'm your newest follower! You blog is amazing! I love your ending quote: "A teacher who teaches from the heart IS more than ordinary." ABSOLUTELY-- never forget it! :)

I'm "grabbing your button" now!

Brittany
http://thesuperheroteacher.blogspot.com/

Cheryl Ener said...

Heather,
I have been stressing about all things school related lately and, then, God sent me a message to come read your blog! Wow! Such wonderful insight! Thank you so much for your wonderful words of wisdom! Hugs friend!
Cheryl
Crayons and Curls

Teacherfish said...

I am in my thirtieth year of teaching and often feel the same way. Your students are blessed to have such an eloquent, thoughtful dedicated teacher. Keep up the good fight. Breath. Tomorrow's another day.

Cathy McGaffin said...

Heather,
Thanks for stopping by my brand-new blog and inviting me to check out yours...it is amazing! I can tell what a gifted and caring teacher you are!

I loved this post, because it expresses what so many of us feel...that no matter how hard we work, it is never enough. People outside of education have no idea how many hours dedicated teachers put into their jobs. I was lucky enough to be able to take time off from teaching when my kids were growing up, and just work art-time. It is now my 7th year back and I have never worked harder in my life! I don't know how all the young mom teachers do it!

Anyway, I love your blog and am now your newest follower!
Thanks,
Cathy

Kathy Linn said...



Love your blog slogan. Thanks for your inspiring words! In my 23rd year, I know I am fortunate to do a job I love. Yes, I do get frustrated with the hours I put in, and I know there will always be a lot of work to do to meet the needs of each child. Thanks for putting into words how a lot of us feel. I started blogging to help me better reflect on my teaching and to have a way to share and tap into all the resources online.

Katie Knight said...

Heather, Your blog has toughed my heart hundreds of times. I have to tell you that none of us teacher-bloggers are wonder women. People do not post pictures of the extra 10 minutes they had the kids (not so silently) read- because they were unprepared. They don't post about their negative interactions. They only show their best face. Thank you for your honesty, encouragement, and faith. I am saying prayers for you right now for the loss of your family member and I want to remind you that every tear is precious to him. He welcomes us to empty our grief onto his feet or shoulder because then he can fill those places again with peace and comfort. I sent you love.

katie said...

Thank you so much for this post. It is exactly what I needed to hear. I have had some major trials the last few months and I was starting to feel so discouraged. I know that God has you in his arms and is there for you. Know that I will be keeping you in my prayers, that things get better and you do not feel so over whelmed with your distract's and school's demands. I know that you are an amazing teacher and your students are so blessed to have you in their lives. (Sometimes we all need to hear that.)

Katie

A Basket Full of Apples

Ton o' Fun in Grade 1 said...

Dear Heather, I realize this comes long after you posted your insights on February 11--but it was right on time for me! It soooo resonated--I, too, come early and stay late; I, too, wonder have my students "lost it" sometimes; I, too, chafe at all the other things besides teaching that I end up doing. But this is my calling, and all I want is to make a difference in my first-graders' lives. Thank you for the encouraging quotes and your thoughts; they hit home to my heart! God bless you.

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